Saturday, June 30, 2007

Franklin makes Top 10

Almost missed this good bit of news: Family Circle Magazine has selected Franklin as one of the top 10 in America.

Family Circle said it had looked for communities that provided "big-city opportunities with suburban charm" and that offered "affordable houses, good jobs, top-rated schools, wide-open spaces and a lot less stress." They also took into account commute times, health care, crime rates, air quality, cultural amenities and volunteerism.

Working with a new New York City research firm, the magazine put together an initial list of 1,850 municipalities with populations between 15,000 and 150,000. Staff then narrowed the list to 800 and then down to the top 10. Franklin was the only New England town chosen.

Read more about this honor in Micheal Morton's article in the Milford Daily News.

For all the magazine sellers in the area, please order extra copies of the August issue which should be available July 10th. There might be a few Franklin folks looking to obtain a copy!

Congratulations Franklin!

Lowell Folk Festival - Schedule

The schedule for Saturday (and the complete festival) is now available online. I am looking forward to this:

Boarding House Park:
12:00 – 12:45 Eileen Ivers & Immigrant Soul
1:00 – 1:45 The Lee Boys
2:00 – 2:45 Dorado Schmitt & All Star Band
3:00 – 3:45 Forró For All
4:00 – 4:45 Lost Bayou Ramblers
5:00 – 6:00 Diunna Greenleaf & Blue Mercy

Deja Brew all over again

Bottling time at Deja Brew on Friday night.

Goibniu: A Great rendition of a true Scottish Ale

Rocket Bock: This is an excellent beer to warm you up. Very potent, 6 % ABV

Greg’s Big Head Stout: Nice and Roasty, with a big creamy head

Special Delivery Ale: Designed by big Mike, Long trail double bag clone

Castle Brown Ale: Similar to Newcastle, a mild Brown Ale

Additional links on the Deja Brew experience can be found here and here and here

This qualifies as a good experience!

Franklin: Aroma Caffe

Franklin_Aroma Caffe
Originally uploaded by shersteve
Another Saturday. Dolores and I take our walk through downtown stopping at Aroma's to get a cup of coffee to provide that extra go for the walk up the hill on our final stretch home.

We were sorry to see MelDiva's close but this has been a worthy alternative.

Good coffee!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Brick Task Force - Update

The Franklin School Committe blog has a link to send an email with your request to vounteer for this task.

Click here to get to the link.

Good luck!

Franklin: WW II Memorial

Franklin: WW II Memorial
Originally uploaded by shersteve
The World War II Memorial stands in front of the the WW I Memorial and flanked by two others whose pictures will appear soon.

Why do we have so many wars?

Franklin: WW I Memorial

Franklin: WW I Memorial
Originally uploaded by shersteve
Once called "The Great War" or "The War To End All Wars", the World War I memorial sits amongst some greenery on the Town Common.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Brick School Task Force recruiting

If you are interested in helping to decide the future of the Brick School you can volunteer to join the Task Force being put together to work on this. Contact the School Committee

Recall that the Brick School was on the cut list even if the override passed.

Yet private money coming froward at the 11th hour, talked the School Committee into a unanimous vote to keep it open another year while the task force does it's thing.

Good luck to the Task Force!

More details can be found in Michael Morton's Milford Daily News article today and Tuesday.

Franklin: Spanish-American War Memorial

The old weapon from the Spanish-American War is part of the memorial along the Town Common.

Franklin: Civil War Memorial

The day dawns brightly on the Civil War Memorial positioned on the Town Common.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Norton Update

... both the $1.9 million debt exclusion and the $1 million school operational override failed in Tuesday’s vote.
The debt exclusion failed with 2,090 yes votes and 2,342 no votes. The school operational override failed with 1,860 yes votes and 2,484 no votes.

Now, we'll need to see what happens to Norton. Will they be like Stoneham?

The information above came via the Norton Mirror. The Boston Globe failed to cover this in today's edition.

Updated: Override Central posted this at 6:00 PM

Franklin: Revolutionary War Memorial

This memorial to the Franklin folks involved in the Revolutionary War can be found on the Town Common.

Franklin: Main Street view

Franklin: Main Street view
Originally uploaded by
The flowers are looking good perched along the bridge railing.

Stoneham update

The Stoneham Board of Selectmen passed an increase to the trash fee on a 3-2 vote but still have to determine how they will allocated the additional funds raised.

Since the town and school budget failed with the operational override of $3 million, the expected $1.3 million will not cover the shortages in both areas.

The education versus sports question still remains as well as the safety (fire, police) versus education question.

For more on this recent update, the Boston Globe Override Blog has this article.

The Boston Globe has this article, same writer, some different text

Derrick Jackson, Globe columnist, chimes in on the overall local funding issue here.

My previous Stoneham posts can be found here and here

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Franklin: Oak St School

Originally uploaded by
The school is quiet now that summer is upon us.

Franklin: Penny Lane

Originally uploaded by
A new development of 6 or 7 houses going in behind our house. This entrance is off Summer St.

Given that the development is called "Strawberry Fields" and the street is called Penny Lane, I guess they have a thing for the Beatles!

Jerry's Story

My father's oral history is being recorded and published at Jerry's Story.

You can subscribe via email or RSS Reader to keep current as each new episode is added.

I have also added a new Feedburner widget with scrolling headlines so you can check here if there is anything new there.


Monday, June 25, 2007

Information and Misinformation

Taunton voted for a Prop 2 1/2 override as a debt exclusion to fund renovations for their schools. The Boston Globe headline proclaims "In Taunton, even backers stunned by tax-hike OK". How did they do so? There are lessons to be taken from their effort.

... proponents purposefully framed the project as a prudent one-time investment that would save the city millions in the long run. Borrowing $18 million now to avoid paying an estimated $30 million in emergency repairs later, they argued, would only reinforce the city's frugal reputation.

"Taunton people are sensible people: They don't have a lot of money, but they know a good deal when they see it," said John Hoey, a leading supporter of the plan, who has two school-age children.

Hoey said approximately 100 core supporters campaigned aggressively for the project the past two months, canvassing the city to lobby voters and calling 2,500 people the day before the vote, particularly families with school-age children.

Opponents said they had never seen such an effective grass-roots effort in the town. Turnout was 22 percent, an unexpectedly high level for a single-issue election held on a Saturday in June.

This was a good effort and a worthy cause. Debt overrides are sometimes easier to pass than operational overrides. Franklin is a case in point. We just passed our first operational override but have passed debt exclusions for similar school building projects.

Yet, the Globe seems to think this is unusual.

The op-ed column by Joan Vennochi in Sunday's Globe talks about the information and misinformation rampant around this tax situation. Massachusetts is no longer Taxecushetts.

For the business community, generally, and especially for Verizon, this is not Taxachusetts. Businesses in 41 other states pay a greater percentage of their states' total state and local taxes than businesses pay in Massachusetts.

As for Verizon, according to information supplied by the Patrick administration, the company's state and local tax bill in Massachusetts equaled 1.19 percent of its total revenue in 2006; its national tax average was 4.43 percent. And, even as Massachusetts sends Verizon one of the lowest tax bills it receives from anywhere else in the country, Massachusetts ratepayers receive one of the highest Verizon bills in the country.

Unless you're the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, it's hard to get emotional about tax exemptions and loopholes. But maybe it is time to get emotional about the bigger picture here: what is happening in cities and towns across Massachusetts.
Library's closing, services cut, school sports eliminated....

Real information is needed.
Let's put some heads together and come up with a solution that is rational and reasonable.

We will not succeed if we consider "us vs. them", we are all in this together.

We need to consider the commonwealth.

Franklin Senior Center (2)

Originally uploaded by
The new one under construction on Oak St.

Franklin: Senior Center

Franklin: Senior Center
Originally uploaded by
The current location

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Stoneham cuts sports in wake of override failure

Override Central has a posting today on Stoneham's money woes.

The Globe front page talks of cutting the entire high school sports program due to the failure to pass the override.

Oh my!

Override Results - Updated

As previously posted by the Globe at Override Central, and then updated earlier this month, I have updated again by checking into the official town web sites.

If anyone has results for Westminster, please let me know and I will update this listing.

Scheduled Proposition 2 1/2 override votes

(updated 6/23/07)

Community Date Amount Result

15 SAUGUS 24-Apr $5,200,000 LOST

20 SHREWSBURY 1-May $5,000,000 LOST

5 RANDOLPH 27-Mar $4,100,000 LOST

1 CANTON 23-Jan $3,950,000 LOST

6 WALPOLE 31-Mar $3,900,000 LOST

46 NORTH READING 5-Jun $3,900,000 LOST

42 WEST BOYLSTON 24-May $3,100,000 LOST

51 STONEHAM 19-Jun $3,000,000 LOST

50 BRIDGEWATER 16-Jun $2,871,093 LOST

43 MIDDLEBOROUGH 2-Jun $2,584,000 LOST

18 AMHERST 1-May $2,500,000 LOST

30 ASHLAND 15-May $1,998,111 LOST

41 NEWBURYPORT 22-May $1,580,000 LOST

31 DENNIS 15-May $1,348,150 LOST

10 EAST BRIDGEWATER 7-Apr $1,250,000 LOST

28 GEORGETOWN 14-May $1,061,822 LOST

39 GROTON 22-May $937,570 LOST

25 ROCKPORT 8-May $781,576 LOST

8 DARTMOUTH 3-Apr $750,000 LOST

29 SOUTHBOROUGH 14-May $696,000 LOST

13 ROCKLAND 14-Apr $675,000 LOST

47 MONSON 11-Jun $611,472 LOST

27 RUTLAND 14-May $500,000 LOST

19 YARMOUTH 1-May $499,094 LOST

48 ASHBURNHAM 12-Jun $498,603 LOST

36 GILL 21-May $300,000 LOST

38 OTIS 22-May $150,000 LOST

21 TOPSFIELD 3-May $78,277 LOST

37 DUNSTABLE 21-May $675,336 LOST*

7 SCITUATE 31-Mar $3,341,729 SPLIT

14 TISBURY 24-Apr $491,081 SPLIT

53 MENDON 19-Jun $424,219 SPLIT

45 LEXINGTON 5-Jun $3,900,000 WON

32 SHARON 15-May $2,900,000 WON

16 WESTWOOD 24-Apr $2,780,000 WON

40 FRANKLIN 22-May $2,700,000 WON

3 SUDBURY 26-Mar $2,500,000 WON

52 NORTH ANDOVER 19-Jun $1,650,000 WON

11 KINGSTON 9-Apr $1,600,000 WON

2 WINCHESTER 13-Mar $1,300,000 WON

12 NEEDHAM 10-Apr $1,128,670 WON

9 HARVARD 3-Apr $763,000 WON

24 ROWLEY 8-May $590,000 WON

44 MEDFIELD 4-Jun $524,000 WON

34 HAMILTON 17-May $461,703 WON

33 BOXFORD 15-May $401,926 WON

4 LINCOLN 26-Mar $350,000 WON

23 SALISBURY 8-May $350,000 WON

26 CARLISLE 8-May $245,000 WON

35 WENHAM 17-May $154,817 WON

22 MERRIMAC 7-May $77,700 WON

17 MARSHFIELD 28-Apr $2,000,000 WON*

54 NORTON 26-Jun $996,177

49 WESTMINSTER 12-Jun $729,309

Average request


*List does not include scheduled votes for debt-exclusion or capital-exclusion overrides.

*List may not be exhaustive as towns are not required to report when they schedule a vote.

Sources: Globe research, Massachusetts Municipal Association, municipal websites

Original source, Boston Globe article; subsequent updates from online newspaper info and town web sites

Friday, June 22, 2007

Franklin's MBTA Stations to be spruced up

With the town's commuter rail stations slated for a makeover under a recently announced state program, riders and officials said the work will dovetail nicely with plans to renovate downtown. But while grateful for the improvements, officials also noted the project will not include installing disability access at Franklin's downtown/Dean College stop, a feature the town continues to seek.

"Any upgrade we truly appreciate, but they should go a step further," Town Administrator Jeffrey Nutting said.

Under the project, introduced by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and its Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad Co., both the downtown station and the one at Forge Park will receive new benches, trashcans, bike racks and signs. Workers will also repair lights and platform edges, reseal concrete surfaces and put on a fresh coat of paint. The project is expected to be completed by the end of summer.

For more details read the story by Michael Morton in the Milford Daily News

Franklin: Dean College entrance

Dean College operates from the center of Franklin. They are trying to be good citizens. They just announced that they are expanding operations into the new development work going on downtown.

For more information, the Franklin Gazette article has some details.

Franklin: Public Library

Franklin: Public Library
Originally uploaded by
The first free public library in the USA. This is one of Franklin's services that was almost reduced to unacceptable operation if the recent override had failed.

Fortunately, Franklin passed it's first operational Prop 2 1/2 override and the library remains open and fully functional.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Scenes around Franklin

The Flickr photo set can be found here

The blog postings can be found here:

Landscape Changes

Parmenter School gets ready

Planning Board is hard at work

Free stuff

St Rocco - Fund Raising

St Rocco - Ferris Wheel

St Rocco's - and the band played on

New Fire Station


Stone Wall creator

Stone Wall

MBTA Station 2

Union St Paved

Main Street Construction

Korean War Memorial

Persian Gulf Memorial

Vietnam Conflict Memorial

detritus from Honey Dew

Got enough signs?

Franklin MBTA 2

Franklin MBTA Station

Stone wall creator

Stone wall


New fire station

Main St construction

Summer St Fountain

Water cell

Franklin Welcome

WW II Memorial

WW I Memorial

Spanish-American War Memorial

Civil War Memorial

Revolutionary War Memorial

Main Street View

Oak St School

Penny Lane

Senior Center (new)

Senior Center (current)

Dean College

Public Library

Franklin Town Common 1

Franklin Town Common 2

MBTA Station downtown

The Rome Restaurant

Isabella's Groceria

St Mary's

Franklin: St Mary's

Franklin: St Mary's
Originally uploaded by
The largest Catholic parish in the diocese of Boston. The maze of utility lines spoil the photo.

Franklin: Isabella's Groceria

This is a classic deli with good pizza. They are helpful to local fund raising efforts. I used to see the sign outside for one or the other of the elementary schools. A percent of the purchases during a specific period would go to that fund raising effort.

When my daughters were at Franklin HIgh, the track and cross country team had a Friday night once a month. It was a good excuse to get a big pizza or some sandwiches and help the cause.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Franklin: The Rome Restaurant

One of Franklin's great restaurants. Good food, reasonably priced. We ordered some from the take out menu for the recent graduation party and it was a big hit.

Franklin: MBTA Train Station

Actually one of two stations in Franklin, this one is down town. The other is near Exit 17 at Forge Park.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Franklin: Town Common

Franklin: Town Common
Originally uploaded by
Same summer morning.
View of the gazebo from the other side, looking up the walkway.

Franklin: Town Common Gazebo

The gazebo at the Franklin Town Common.
Roof bathed in sunlight on a glorious summer morning.
Walkways shaded.

It is early, no one around but the photographer.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Franklin Schools Policies - now online

As previously noted, the project by the students at Tri-County to put the school policy document on line was completed and it is now available here.

Northbridge parents go for a loan to help schools

Yes, after the $3.7 million Northbridge override failed, resulting in cuts to the library and multiple school activities, the parents put together a loan package for $110,000 to put back some of the cuts. The Northbridge Education Foundation will get into fund raising to pay off the loan and then work to raise another $215,000 to restore winter and spring activities.

You can read the full Boston Globe article here.

Friday, June 15, 2007

5 for Friday

A round up of some interesting things I found this week.

If these missed your radar, you can catch then here and now.
  1. Trevor finds a problem with placement
  2. Penelope Trunk writes about workplace etiquette
  3. What Ronni Bennett learned going from 1 to 1000
  4. Susan Senator provides words of wisdom
  5. Scott Adams (aka Dilbert's creator) solves the energy problem


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Brick saved, for now

According to the Boston Globe article the Brick School has been saved for now.

And from Michael Morton's article in the Milford Daily News:
While the School Committee commended Garelick Farms for its generosity, several members expressed unease about accepting a gift that only benefited a certain part of the district, particularly when cuts to staff and programs are being made.

Committee member Cora Armenio thanked Garelick but called the $18,000 an "11th-hour" proposal. "It's not one we've had the time to look at, ask questions and debate," she said. She also expressed concern that targeted gifts would lead to "special interest groups coming forward to fund their niche."

Committee member Ed Cafasso agreed.

"It's a risky precedent we're setting here, where we move from a public education system to an adopt-a-classroom system," he said. In approving the donations, the School Committee also decided to look at its policy for future targeted gifts.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Globe (finally) gets to Brick School

For more than 200 years, children here have attended kindergarten in a one-room schoolhouse, a small, red- brick structure on a quiet residential street just outside the center of town. Residents call it a local treasure, and 31 years ago it was added to the National Historic Register.

But the school's future is in limbo. Tonight, at a meeting expected to be emotionally charged, the Franklin School Committee will decide whether to to accept a gift to continue running the school or to heed the superintendent's three-month-old suggestion to close the school.

The town is working to offset a $6.4 million budget shortage, and the Brick School may be too costly to keep, said Jeffrey N. Roy, the committee chairman.

"It's one of those facets of our education system that makes Franklin unique, that we have this oldest continuously operated one-room brick school in America," Roy said. "Then again, we have a community that expects us to be fiscally prudent and wise with their tax dollars. There's striking a balance."

There is no new information in the article that hasn't already been covered here in or in the prior articles by the Milford Daily News and the Franklin Gazette.

Read the full Boston Globe Article here.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Brick School Discussion at School Committee Meeting 6/12/07

The School Committee meeting Tuesday June 12th has the Brick School listed on the agenda (DOC).

According to Micheal Morton's article in the Milford Daily News there will be a good showing of support for the Brick School. Unfortunately, I won't be able to be in attendence due to a schedule conflict. I would have liked to meet with some of the folk who took time to explain their positions here.

I understand and appreciate where they are coming from but I don't agree. And that's okay. If they want to spend time and money to keep it open, I wish them well.

for Paul V Sherlock

Look what I found for Uncle Paul (PDF).

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Franklin Brick Crosswalks

Franklin Brick Crosswalks
Originally uploaded by
The construction along Union St is making progress. Trees and landscaping details are being worked. Dolores and I taking our weekend morning walk also find that they are putting in brick crosswalks.

For the side roads, I can see this (top photos)

The brick is attractive and goes well with the brick accent (lower right photo)

For Union itself, I don't see these making sense. They are working on one near the Union Cafe (bottom left photo) and have road makings to indicate others to be done.

How long will these last?

Does Frankin have the budget to maintain these?

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Lowell Folk Festival, July 27 - 29, 2007

Yes, Eileen Ivers is returning to the Festival this year. One of the draws for me is the exposure to the others that are "less known" who will perform there. The diversity of music is amazing. They are all quality performers. You really get to ponder what does it take to make it big when you see the others that are so GOOD.

If you are in New England at the end of July, or can get here for this weekend, this is a FREE festival and well worth attending.

I wrote about my experiences for the 2006 Festival here.

The official press release announcing the Festival for this year (PDF)

sherku: LJ's Shameless Lion

sherku: LJ's Shameless Lion

strong forward stride, manely eyes
lion hearted words crafted
springs poetic pride

What is a sherku?

In response to LJ Cohen's challenge.

For LJ Cohen who writes at Once Upon a Blue Muse

Happy Birthday, Jeneane!

It is a special day for Jeneane Sessum today.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Override Tally Updated

Originally published here

Inside story here

New table updated through activity 6/7/07:

Scheduled Proposition 2 1/2 override votes

(updated 6/7/07)

Community Date Amount Result

SAUGUS 24-Apr $5,200,000 LOST

SHREWSBURY 1-May $5,000,000 LOST

RANDOLPH 27-Mar $4,100,000 LOST

CANTON 23-Jan $3,950,000 LOST

WALPOLE 31-Mar $3,900,000 LOST

NORTH READING 5-Jun $3,900,000 LOST

WEST BOYLSTON 24-May $3,100,000 LOST


AMHERST 1-May $2,500,000 LOST

ASHLAND 15-May $1,998,111 LOST

NEWBURYPORT 22-May $1,580,000 LOST

DENNIS 15-May $1,348,150 LOST


GEORGETOWN 14-May $1,061,822 LOST

GROTON 22-May $937,570 LOST

ROCKPORT 8-May $781,576 LOST

DARTMOUTH 3-Apr $750,000 LOST


ROCKLAND 14-Apr $675,000 LOST

RUTLAND 14-May $500,000 LOST

YARMOUTH 1-May $499,094 LOST

GILL 21-May $300,000 LOST

OTIS 22-May $150,000 LOST

TOPSFIELD 3-May $78,277 LOST

DUNSTABLE 21-May $675,336 LOST*

SCITUATE 31-Mar $3,341,729 SPLIT

TISBURY 24-Apr $491,081 SPLIT

LEXINGTON 5-Jun $3,900,000 WON

SHARON 15-May $2,900,000 WON

WESTWOOD 24-Apr $2,780,000 WON

FRANKLIN 22-May $2,700,000 WON

SUDBURY 26-Mar $2,500,000 WON

KINGSTON 9-Apr $1,600,000 WON

WINCHESTER 13-Mar $1,300,000 WON

NEEDHAM 10-Apr $1,128,670 WON

HARVARD 3-Apr $763,000 WON

ROWLEY 8-May $590,000 WON

MEDFIELD 4-Jun $524,000 WON

HAMILTON 17-May $461,703 WON

BOXFORD 15-May $401,926 WON

LINCOLN 26-Mar $350,000 WON

SALISBURY 8-May $350,000 WON

CARLISLE 8-May $245,000 WON

WENHAM 17-May $154,817 WON

MERRIMAC 7-May $77,700 WON

MARSHFIELD 28-Apr $2,000,000 WON*

MONSON 11-Jun $611,472

WESTMINSTER 12-Jun $729,309

ASHBURNHAM 12-Jun $498,603

BRIDGEWATER 16-Jun $2,871,093

STONEHAM 19-Jun $3,000,000

NORTH ANDOVER 19-Jun $1,650,000

MENDON 19-Jun $424,219

NORTON 26-Jun $996,177

Average request


*List does not include scheduled votes for debt-exclusion or capital-exclusion overrides.
*List may not be exhaustive as towns are not required to report when they schedule a vote.
Sources: Globe research, Massachusetts Municipal Association, municipal websites
Original source, Boston Globe article; subsequent updates from online newspaper info

Medfield Override passes

The Boston Globe doesn't have an update on this item. I wanted to update their table and ended up finding the news at the Townonline link for Medfield.

I find it cute that when you go to and do a search for "Medfield override" my page comes up first followed by a Globe article from 2002.

The override table will be updated and posted shortly.

School Committee policies online

The School Committee meeting this week celebrated the completion of a student project at Tri-County High School to create an online version of the school committee policies.

The Milford Daily News wrote about it here.

The School Committee blog announced it here.

When the policy link is actually available online, I will post it here.
(Updated 6/16/07)

In the process of looking for the link I did find that the School Committee has multiple web sites. Their blog has been posted here before. Their link off the town site is here. There is yet another site here.